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After sailing Carnival, Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean, I chose to try MSC for a Caribbean cruise. I had heard many bad things about the ship here on Cruise Critic. Most specifically, bad food, rude passengers, poor customer service and lacking entertainment. Before we boarded, we were made aware of an itinerary change. Our original plan was San Juan, St Thomas, Nassau, and their new private island of Ocean Cay. They canceled the Ocean Cay stop because the island wasn't ready for visitors yet. I was OK with another day at sea in exchange for an on-board credit or $100 per stateroom. When we boarded, we were informed via letter in the stateroom that Nassau had been canceled as well. They added stops to Tortola and Puerto Plata. We still received the $100 credit. I was OK with the changed stops, although I have already been on those stops before. I think that reading all the bad reviews really lowered my expectations from this cruise. I was prepared for a less than stellar cruise. Here's my thoughts below: The ship - this is the largest ship that I have ever been on. It is very nice. I could see the European influence all over the ship. Because of an injury that I received a week before the cruise, I didn't partake in the activities I usually would have tried. The ropes course, the water slides and the zip line all looked fun. I spent some time at the adults only pool on the back of the ship. It was nice, although all the pools are deep (6.5 feet I think). There are 3 glass bridges that were interesting. MANY bars and places where activities and music were happening all the time. The service and crew - I thought that they did a fine job. The first and last day, the customer service desk line was very long because of MSC not allowing people to set up their onboard account before they arrive at the ship. They had people assisting people at these terminals where you could register your credit card. If you wanted to put a cash deposit, use a debit card or had trouble with the credit card function, you had to get in line. I didn't have a problem with my CC so I found it pretty easy. Still... I believe that you should be able to set it up before you board the ship. The food - I am NOT picky AT ALL when it comes to food. If you are, best to skip this part of the review. I thought the Buffet was fine. I exclusively ate there. Being a solo cruiser, I tend to shy away from the regular restaurants. Even then, once I got to talking to other Americans on the ship, the regular sit down restaurant didn't receive great reviews. So, I felt OK just in the buffet. There was a regular staple of burgers, dogs, fries and pizza plus many rotating sections of food. Only one night did I walk around and not find anything to my liking. It wasn't knock your socks off food, but as good as any of the other ship line buffets I've eaten. The drink package - I purchased the Easy Drink Package (the cheapest one). I'm a rum and coke or a beer guy. I don't get too fancy. I found it to be a good package for me. The price of $35 per day made it easy for me to feel like I was getting value. The self serve beer tap, soda tap and wine taps in the buffet were real nice touches. The entertainment - The cruise entertainment crew was working hard. They had many events. They weren't really to my liking, but were always well attended, so I won't knock them as they worked hard to get people involved. With the multi-national passengers, they tried to say everything in a few languages. It was annoying at first, then I got used to it. Still, saying everything 3 times means less time for music, games, etc. The evening shows were... interesting... European entertainment for sure. I liked most of them, but I'm easy to please. Except for their comedy act. It's 4 comedians that perform improve comedy. The first night I went, it was packed, by the time I walked out many people had left before me. I tried one other night for about 10 minutes and left. MSC should use comedians like the other lines do. The improv wasn't working the nights I went. Fellow passengers - it was definitely a multi-national crowd. Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese and Eastern European groups were all over. It felt like only about 25% of the ship's passengers spoke English. I learned that there are jerks in every country... but I didn't find the groups to be annoying, just about the same number of jerks that are on a primarily American cruise :) It really was different walking around and not hearing English a lot. Internet/app - I purchased the cheapest package for basically travel and social sites. It worked well all over the ship, I had no problems with it. The app was nice, as most are, with schedules of the entertainment, the ability to book excursions and I saw a function for messaging that you could set up with other cruisers, but I didn't try that... Sailing as a solo cruiser - The high ratio of non-English speaking cruisers made it more solitary for me. Some folks tried to talk with me, but not many as the language barrier made it quite a chore for both side of the conversation. I did find the English speaking cruisers and talked to them a bit. Still... made for a quieter, almost boring trip. If there were single/solo travelers get events, I only found one, the two nights before the trip ended. I know that there wasn't any set up the first 2 nights of the cruise because I looked on the schedule for them. Also, traveling solo, I found that I wasn't ever approached for anything like the spa, or even a photo. Not one... The end result - I had an OK time. I would not go as a single/solo cruiser again. I would go with a group of people. Happy Cruising!

New to MSC

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by BeachinLar

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Suite
After sailing Carnival, Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean, I chose to try MSC for a Caribbean cruise. I had heard many bad things about the ship here on Cruise Critic. Most specifically, bad food, rude passengers, poor customer service and lacking entertainment.

Before we boarded, we were made aware of an itinerary change. Our original plan was San Juan, St Thomas, Nassau, and their new private island of Ocean Cay. They canceled the Ocean Cay stop because the island wasn't ready for visitors yet. I was OK with another day at sea in exchange for an on-board credit or $100 per stateroom. When we boarded, we were informed via letter in the stateroom that Nassau had been canceled as well. They added stops to Tortola and Puerto Plata. We still received the $100 credit. I was OK with the changed stops, although I have already been on those stops before.

I think that reading all the bad reviews really lowered my expectations from this cruise. I was prepared for a less than stellar cruise. Here's my thoughts below:

The ship - this is the largest ship that I have ever been on. It is very nice. I could see the European influence all over the ship. Because of an injury that I received a week before the cruise, I didn't partake in the activities I usually would have tried. The ropes course, the water slides and the zip line all looked fun. I spent some time at the adults only pool on the back of the ship. It was nice, although all the pools are deep (6.5 feet I think). There are 3 glass bridges that were interesting. MANY bars and places where activities and music were happening all the time.

The service and crew - I thought that they did a fine job. The first and last day, the customer service desk line was very long because of MSC not allowing people to set up their onboard account before they arrive at the ship. They had people assisting people at these terminals where you could register your credit card. If you wanted to put a cash deposit, use a debit card or had trouble with the credit card function, you had to get in line. I didn't have a problem with my CC so I found it pretty easy. Still... I believe that you should be able to set it up before you board the ship.

The food - I am NOT picky AT ALL when it comes to food. If you are, best to skip this part of the review. I thought the Buffet was fine. I exclusively ate there. Being a solo cruiser, I tend to shy away from the regular restaurants. Even then, once I got to talking to other Americans on the ship, the regular sit down restaurant didn't receive great reviews. So, I felt OK just in the buffet. There was a regular staple of burgers, dogs, fries and pizza plus many rotating sections of food. Only one night did I walk around and not find anything to my liking. It wasn't knock your socks off food, but as good as any of the other ship line buffets I've eaten.

The drink package - I purchased the Easy Drink Package (the cheapest one). I'm a rum and coke or a beer guy. I don't get too fancy. I found it to be a good package for me. The price of $35 per day made it easy for me to feel like I was getting value. The self serve beer tap, soda tap and wine taps in the buffet were real nice touches.

The entertainment - The cruise entertainment crew was working hard. They had many events. They weren't really to my liking, but were always well attended, so I won't knock them as they worked hard to get people involved. With the multi-national passengers, they tried to say everything in a few languages. It was annoying at first, then I got used to it. Still, saying everything 3 times means less time for music, games, etc. The evening shows were... interesting... European entertainment for sure. I liked most of them, but I'm easy to please. Except for their comedy act. It's 4 comedians that perform improve comedy. The first night I went, it was packed, by the time I walked out many people had left before me. I tried one other night for about 10 minutes and left. MSC should use comedians like the other lines do. The improv wasn't working the nights I went.

Fellow passengers - it was definitely a multi-national crowd. Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese and Eastern European groups were all over. It felt like only about 25% of the ship's passengers spoke English. I learned that there are jerks in every country... but I didn't find the groups to be annoying, just about the same number of jerks that are on a primarily American cruise :) It really was different walking around and not hearing English a lot.

Internet/app - I purchased the cheapest package for basically travel and social sites. It worked well all over the ship, I had no problems with it. The app was nice, as most are, with schedules of the entertainment, the ability to book excursions and I saw a function for messaging that you could set up with other cruisers, but I didn't try that...

Sailing as a solo cruiser - The high ratio of non-English speaking cruisers made it more solitary for me. Some folks tried to talk with me, but not many as the language barrier made it quite a chore for both side of the conversation. I did find the English speaking cruisers and talked to them a bit. Still... made for a quieter, almost boring trip. If there were single/solo travelers get events, I only found one, the two nights before the trip ended. I know that there wasn't any set up the first 2 nights of the cruise because I looked on the schedule for them. Also, traveling solo, I found that I wasn't ever approached for anything like the spa, or even a photo. Not one...

The end result - I had an OK time. I would not go as a single/solo cruiser again. I would go with a group of people.

Happy Cruising!
BeachinLar’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Suite
Cabin S2
10264 is a nice room. Compared to a regular balcony, this one is wider with a bigger bathroom. The balcony wraps around and there are 2 chairs, one footstool and 2 high back chairs that recline. The balcony is only 2 decks above the outdoor dining area for the buffet and the adults only pool. The result is a very noisy deck when those two areas are noisy. If you are bothered by that type of noise, like I was, bring a pair of earbuds and listen to your own music. On 2 nights, they had an outdoor party at the back of the ship that went until 1am. Good luck sleeping until they turn the music off. It is very loud. Also, for a ship that is only 2 years old... The couch was VERY dirty as was the carpet (my feet and socks were black on the bottom after very little walking w/o shoes only in my room. The bed was really hard for me, so much so that I went to a K-Mart in St Thomas to buy a bed pad as the cabin steward didn't have any.

It was absolutely AWESOME waking up, using a remote to open the shades on the window that looks to the back of the ship, and propping myself up on the bed. You can see the trailing wake of the ship and it immediately reminds you that you are on vacation...
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